Catholics on the Barricades

Poland, France, and "Revolution," 1891-1956

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Piotr H. Kosicki
Yale-Hoover Series on Authoritarian Regimes
  • New Haven, CT: 
    Yale University Press
    , January
     424 pages.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.


In Poland in the 1940s and '50s, a new kind of Catholic intended to remake European social and political life—not with guns, but French philosophy.

This collective intellectual biography examines generations of deeply religious thinkers whose faith drove them into public life, including Karol Wojtyla, future Pope John Paul II, and Tadeusz Mazowiecki, the future prime minister who would dismantle Poland’s Communist regime.
Seeking to change the way we understand the Catholic Church, World War II, the Cold War, and communism, this study centers on the idea of “revolution.” It examines two crucial countries, France and Poland, while challenging conventional wisdom among historians and introducing innovations in periodization, geography, and methodology. Why has much of Eastern Europe gone back down the road of exclusionary nationalism and religious prejudice since the end of the Cold War? Piotr H. Kosicki helps to understand the crises of contemporary Europe by examining the intellectual world of Roman Catholicism in Poland and France between the Church's declaration of war on socialism in 1891 and the demise of Stalinism in 1956.

About the Author(s)/Editor(s)/Translator(s): 

Piotr H. Kosicki is assistant professor of history at the University of Maryland. He has written for the Nation, the New Republic, and the Times Literary Supplement.


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